Joel is seen holding Ellie as she cries.

Screenshot: HBO / Kotaku

The newest episode of HBO’s The Final of Us is filled with standout scenes. Whereas episode 8, “When We Are In Want, is filled with pressure, drama, and even a bit extra motion than the present usually will get into, the second that has viewers in a chokehold proper now’s certainly one of its quietest: when Pedro Pascal’s Joel calls Bella Ramsey’s Ellie “child lady.” It’s only one line, however within the overarching story of The Final of Us, it means every little thing.

Why it issues that Joel known as Ellie “child lady”

In each HBO’s present and Naughty Canine’s recreation, the connection Joel and Ellie have fostered all through their cross-country odyssey doesn’t culminate till winter units in. In the end they’ve lastly moved previous their preliminary grievances about touring collectively, and have began to essentially open up about their pasts and their hopes for the longer term. Whereas the specifics of when and the place differ between the present and recreation, Joel and Ellie have talked about grief, shared the issues they want they might have performed in a world not overtaken by the cordyceps fungus, and overtly proven look after one another. They’ve fought and survived collectively for a very long time, however now appear capable of drop their guard. Ellie finds the companionship she’s been lacking on this desecrated world, and Joel opens himself as much as care for somebody in a approach he hasn’t in 20 years.

He lastly acknowledges this with phrases when he calls Ellie “child lady,” which was a time period of endearment he used for his daughter Sarah earlier than she was killed by the army in the course of the preliminary cordyceps outbreak, as seen within the first episode. Earlier than this week, The Final of Us made a number of references huge and small that urged Joel’s initially guarded angle towards Ellie was deeply rooted in his personal grief. Take into account his occasional glances at his damaged watch, which Sarah gave to him the night time she died.

Whereas Joel and Ellie shared some transient moments of connection earlier than, Joel’s already cherished and brought care of a younger lady as soon as in his life, solely to have her ripped away in essentially the most traumatic approach potential. The present made this specific in episode six by having Joel and his brother Tommy focus on how his rising attachment to Ellie made him fearful for her life and his capacity to guard her. This was to the purpose the place Joel was prepared to go away her in his brother’s care as a result of he feared he would fail Ellie the best way he feels he failed Sarah.

By the time we get to the final scene of this week’s episode eight, Ellie has protected Joel in the same way he protected her. The gap between them has been fully bridged, and Ellie has had to survive the traumatic events of fighting through a group of cannibals and predators without Joel’s help. So when Joel finds her bloody and scared in the winter cold, he holds her and calls her “baby girl.” In a simple nickname, Joel and Ellie’s burgeoning relationship becomes indelible.

The fan reaction to Joel calling Ellie “baby girl”

Meanwhile, fans are having a moment about it.

And who could blame them? Pascal and Ramsey put their entire The Last of Ussy into that scene. They both sold that shit. Now that all The Last of Us newcomers watching are properly invested in Joel and Ellie’s relationship, I’m excited to see how these fans feel about the events of next week’s finale, which I’m sure will be universally accepted and not at all divisive.